provided by author taken 1990

My Father’s Final Gift To Me Was Showing Me The Way To Die

After Almost Seven Years With ALS, It Came Down To 12 Minutes Past Midnight

Heather S. Wargo
Sep 13, 2019 · 14 min read

ALS is an extremely rare neurological disease

that involves the nerve cells (neurons) responsible for controlling voluntary muscle movements. Voluntary muscles produce movements like chewing, walking, and talking. This disease is progressive — the symptoms get worse over time.

There is no cure for ALS.

Nor is there any effective treatment to halt or reverse the progression.

None.

Not for my father in the winter of 1997 turning into 1998.

This is where my family prayed at home growing up. Any Italian Catholic will recognize this.

He …doesn’t give up easy.

My father is still waiting for his disability to be approved.

It is denied two times.

By 2001, my father has quit working.

Never.

Only one time does he address this issue.

I will never forget that talk.

His faith is never shaken one moment by his diagnosis or any of the horror that follows.

I weep.

my brother Luke hanging a “Star” on the Christmas Tree off the balcony of his bedroom interiorly during Dad’s last Christmas, a bittersweet day. Used to illustrate the unusual architecture of our Great Room interior. {provided by author}

What is actually happening strikes me and I begin to sob.

I lift his huge hand to my face. My father has huge hands. His wedding ring is a size 12. Shrunken from illness, they still are formidable.

One last breath in.

Fly on, Daddy.

Assemblage

A work of art made by grouping found or unrelated objects.

Heather S. Wargo

Written by

Writer+advocate. “Right is right when no one is right, and wrong is wrong when everyone is wrong.” Ven. Fulton Sheen. Published by The Western Journal + more.

Assemblage

A collection of things or people. An object made of pieces fitted together. A work of art made by grouping found or unrelated objects. A publication on Medium.

Heather S. Wargo

Written by

Writer+advocate. “Right is right when no one is right, and wrong is wrong when everyone is wrong.” Ven. Fulton Sheen. Published by The Western Journal + more.

Assemblage

A collection of things or people. An object made of pieces fitted together. A work of art made by grouping found or unrelated objects. A publication on Medium.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store